venerdì, novembre 11, 2016

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis


Have you ever fought with all yourself for reading a book not yet appeared to the horizon because you simply thought that you had a strong connection with it and/ or you thought that it deserved to be read?

It happened to me. When last summer I joined NetGalley discovering wagons of wonderful books, one of those books became my obsession: Love, Alice by Barbara Davis.

At first I requested it through NetGalley, but being a book reserved only for Americans readers and reviewers I tried but I was declined.
Not happy I sent an e-mail to the author.
Time passed by but my obstinacy for reading this book remained intact.

In recent times somewhere I guess in one of the newsletters of books I receive I read again something of this book and I thought: I must obtain a copy, let me go and see how I can do that. I discovered the Facebook page of the author.

Great, let's see...

The giveaways through Goodreads gone, but there was a final chance I noticed looking at one of her posts: the possibility of reading it through First to Read the website set up by Penguin and Random House for introducing to readers/reviewers their latest novelties. I joined it immediately, I requested the book and this time hooray, I was picked up!

Sadly when I was accepted my dad fell also very sick. He died this Nov 2. If possible the message of this book is also more powerful according to my point of view and considering the main set of the story: a cemetery.

I want to add that all my fights for reading a copy of this book for a review deserved the time I spent online. This book is superbly written, magical, very well constructed, with few characters and all portrayed wonderfully well. Never confused, past and present a miscellaneous where you will love to indulge for find again a beautiful present and a brilliant future for the protagonists. I love these genre of books and I knew that this one would have been a great winning one for sure.
Tender, sweet, wise, Love, Alice by Barbara Davis is a sort of American/British Philomena as she will also specify by the same author at the end of the book in a note for the readers. Strangely, stories like this one are still a taboo and considered, obvious, a big shame for places like UK and Ireland where there was a strong commerce the past decades of little unwanted or maybe so wanted babies that couldn't be kept by these horrible, terrible sinner-girls. Rich couples in places like Canada, USA adopted these children paying a lot of money and giving to them a wonderful existence.

The story takes place in the 1960s and although pretty similar to the one of Philomena in this case is fictional.  Powerful, moving, the book will be released this Dec 6th.

While I was reading it, I thought that although I live in Italy, so a Catholic place we haven't known this problem and it's comforting.

Charleston, profound South of the USA.

Dovie works in a museum and she is an efficient girl.
She had a life once, she must have thought while she was looking at the grave of her beloved fiance William. At the moment her best friend is one of the guardians of the cemetery, cemetery where she loves to eat everyday her lunch sat on a bench close to William's grave (sometimes sharing the lunch with the guardian) and where she tries to find profound answers because of the departure of her wonderful boyfriend. He killed himself.
Why William decided to kill himself without to specifying the reason a month before their wedding that had to be celebrated a year ago?
Why a gesture so absurd?

We all have known situations like these ones and we all know how difficult can be to give an answer at these gestures and how hard is to going on for the so-called survivors.

When not any single word is left at the imagination, as William Dovie's fiance decides to do, people can think this world and the other.
And Dovie feels that maybe she didn't understand completely her fiance, that maybe, why not? it was also her fault if William killed himself, because she didn't notice any signal. If she would have guessed some signals, if she would have noticed something, if...
History is not made with if, or but and rationalize a departure like this one sometimes difficult.

Close to William the grave of Alice Tandy, a young girl lost her life in a mysterious way more than 40 years ago. There was a sculpture dedicated to her. The Tate Family a very rich and influential family loved this girl for sure, thought Dovie.

Sure stories surrounding Alice were many and most of them focused on a relationship maybe with Mr Tate, Gemma's husband.

Alice worked in their family as nanny of Austin their only son.

Dovie didn't mind after all. These ones were words reported by people and a lot of time in the while passed by.

But, one day, a devastated lady leaves a letter close to Alice Tandy's grave, and this first letter captures the attention of Dovie. Dovie in fact spends most of her time in the cemetery when she has some free time. Her friend Theda thinks she should return to live, like also the guardian of the cemetery, but without any kind of answer, without to discovering why her William committed such a horrible act, how can she think to return to live a complete and normal life?

She can't.

She decides to bring home this letter, and she discovers the devastated letter of a mom to a daughter lost forever, not just because in a grave, but because of her horrible behavior as a mom not anymore forgotten by Alice. This lady, Dora, lost her daughter more than 40 years ago. Dora, sick and in the final part of her existence arrived from the Old Continent in search for answers and she found just a grave.


Dovie read this first letter and once returned to the cemetery she opens her heart with the guardian of the cemetery at the same time becoming a friend of Dora.
If at first the man is skeptical and thinks as always that she should return to the life, he understand something: that maybe trying to understand the past of Alice Tandy and her family, Dovie can re-start to find her own peace. Although it was still unclear in what way. So he will help her thanks to other letters and a final box of letters of Alice Tandy completely forgotten for decades.

But who was Alice?

A terribly sad creature. She was admitted at Blackhursts a British catholic institution as a terrible sinner when pregnant of the baby she created with Johnny. When her mom Dora discovered she was pregnant and Alice's boyfriend dead, she decided that Alice had to go away for a while. Times were different, and talked girls wouldn't never have found a husband and a future.

Dora didn't use any kind of compassion for Alice, her condition and the  baby Alice would have wanted to keep so badly.
Dora had other plans for her daughter.
She had made many sacrifices, setting aside for her daughter money for her studies. Dora couldn't imagine  her daughter would have followed her disgraceful destiny. Alice was born because of an "error" of love and hormones.
She imagined a brightest future for her daughter, but now? Her same sad destiny? And was it an error to Dora a daughter like Alice? Of course not, but Dora wanted to see realized the dreams she would have wanted to live and that she hadn't never seen realized for herself and projected in her daughter's life.  Failing.

Alice won't find any kind of forgiveness for such insensitive mother once returned home deciding to afford to the USA where with certainty she could have found her baby.

Of course Dora wanted just what it was the best for her daughter, no doubt of it, but who knows what can be the best for our children and for us?

At the same time thanks to her work at the museum Dovie must organize with Gemma Tate and her son Austin a fund rising and she will start to spend some time with Austin Tate, falling in love for this troubled fascinating man with a lot of problems and fears and scars from the past.

The family Tate treated with great respect considering the social status of the people involved, Dovie will discovered that maybe the past she is absorbed and she is "swimming" in is more close than the one she could have thought at first...


Why buying this book?  It's warm, first of all. Written very well,
you will discover compassion, true good heart, good values, maturity. The most profound real pains analyzed with great respect under the  respective lenses and point of views of the various protagonists all anyway very positive people, clear, cleaned in their actions, also when things were hidden. There is great freshness, the past is not lived as a horrible mistake but as a redemption. After all not big errors committed by the various protagonists and love was a constant theme of them all. The reader will have a complete prospect of what the various protagonists felt correct to do under certain circumstances.

Sometimes we can be guilty or victims. Guilty when we try to change the destiny of other people or maybe victims of people or circumstances that choose our destiny for us. Wrongly.

Reality again won't be the one lived by the various protagonists and what it will appear, at first a facade of joy, happiness, will reveal another side of the story as it happens for Dovie and her beloved William.

But you mustn't never think for a second that the acts of the various protagonists acid or perfidious. You will love all of them for different, various reasons. Austin for his fragility, Dovie for her devotion to William, Kristopher because he loves to be clear, Gemma simply because she is a real sweet protective mature Lady, Alice because of her desire to be mom, Dora because she wants to be forgiven but what she meets is just a grave and new friends able to reveal her the real life-story of her beloved daughter. And you will love Dora because a mom can be wrong but acts always with love.
Dora lost her daughter, as Alice would have lost her son because of her "sin". After all: two souls in pain.

Later we will see how all the protagonists will be set free because after all, the most important and urgent questions answered. The people involved in this story will find peace and they will be in grade to continue to live with lightness their life.

Life after all it's a story of waves and fate...


This book has meant the world to me and I wanted to read it so badly. I  thank firstly NetGalley because I discovered it thanks to them and First To Read, because they donated me the opportunity of realize this dream.


Of course a great Christmas Gift!


Anna Maria Polidori

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